In Playing God, Andy Crouch argues that our allergy to power is a sign that we haven’t read the Bible very closely. For at the beginning of the biblical narrative is the commissioning of humanity to exercise power. Our image-bearing responsibility, given to us in a good creation, is to “have dominion” over creation, to fill the earth by “subduing” it. Our mission as God’s living image bearers is to tend and till the earth in order to unfurl all the potential and promise God has loaded into it. That means an awful lot of power has been entrusted to us.
But this is not a commission to go and oppress, exploit, and dominate. It is a mandate to tend, care, and steward. Power, we see, is not just force, it is potential, capability, a potency to unpack all of the potential God has folded into creation. There is no culture-making that isn’t an exercise of power. If we fail to exercise power, we fail as image-bearers. This is why Crouch contends that “the deepest form of power is creation.” He invites us to reimagine power as “creative love”—the kind of power that multiplies when it is shared, a power that empowers. This is why Pentecost is new creation, a second Eden. The promise of the ascending Jesus is an echo of the creation narrative: “You will receive power” (Acts 1:8).
This is the sort of excellent review that is both thought-provoking but also makes me want to read the book. Worth your time.